The Anti-Beyoncé Protest Was a Flop
A rally planned to protest Beyoncé's Black Panthers–inspired Super Bowl performance was so poorly attended by the "Formation" singer's detractors that it quickly morphed into an event celebrating her anti–police brutality message.
Just a trio of protesters expressed outrage outside the National Football League headquarters in New York City on Tuesday, The Cut reported. They were outnumbered by dozens of Beyoncé fans looking to continue the conversation about race and social justice that the pop culture icon catapulted into the mainstream last week during the most-watched television event of the year.
Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance was widely interpreted as an homage to the Black Panthers, the Black Lives Matter movement, and civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X. Clad in black clothing and black berets, Beyoncé's backup dancers at one point raised their fists to the sky and held up a sign honoring Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man who was shot by San Francisco police last December.
The live show came just a day after Beyoncé released the politically charged music video for "Formation" in which the singer straddles a cop car in New Orleans as it slowly submerges in floodwater, representative of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
While the single shot to the top of the Billboard chart, not everyone was a fan of its message. During a news conference on Tuesday, a sheriff in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, blamed the video for a string of shots he said were targeted at him because he wears a uniform, according to The Tennessean. His claim echoed comments from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who slammed the Super Bowl performance last week on Fox News, calling it an "attack" on police officers.
The organizer of the anti-Beyoncé rally on Tuesday apparently felt the same way. The Eventbrite page for the meet-up described the Super Bowl performance as a "race-baiting stunt" and a "slap in the face to law enforcement." Organized by a group called Proud of the Blues, the event was designed to elicit "everyone who supports the police" to show solidarity with law enforcement and opposition to groups such as the Black Panthers.
Instead, the daylong event was flooded with young people dressed in black and carrying signs with slogans such as "End police brutality and murder" and "Why are people afraid of black pride?" The post–Super Bowl outrage was mocked on Saturday Night Live with a parody sketch in which white people suddenly discover that Beyoncé is black.
"We have asked our biggest stars to get political, and Bey went there," read the description for the counterprotest, which asked attendees to wear clothing inspired by the "Formation" performance. "Don't let anyone make her powerful statement about the value of Black life be overshadowed by those who don't believe that our lives matter."